All kinds of good new music to start 2009. Let's not waste anytime:
* "Merriweather Post Pavilion," by Animal Collective: Is it crazy to say the 2009 Album of the Year has already come out? Critics don't think so. With their tribal drums, larger focus on melody and more forceful vocals, MPP is the band's best effort yet. I used to think Animal Collective was too avant-garde and too artsy to be must-hear music. Not anymore. The Baltimore quintet has taken the next big step. Click here and scroll down to watch the video for and listen to the song, "My Girls."
* "Get Guilty," by A.C. Newman: I'll confess, The New Pornographers are one of my three favorite bands. For those of you who don't know, TNP are a Canadian supergroup led by Mr. Newman. And while his solo albums aren't as good as TNP albums, less-than-great A.C. Newman is still better than 95 percent of other musicians. "Get Guilty" provides his normal sweeter-than-candy melodies and frenetic, three-hooks-per-song structures. But without the blow-you-away energy of his bandmates, the album requires a little more attentiveness to hear the genius. Click here and scroll down to watch the video and listen to his song, "Like A Hitman, Like A Dancer."
"Noble Beast," by Andrew Bird: To some degree, all Andrew Bird albums are the same: Virtuoso whistling, acoustic ensembles, poetry and more violin than the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. "Beast" isn't any different. It's a little less poppy, still sing-alongable and as beautiful as ever. Click here to listen to one of his more upbeat songs, "Fitz and the Dizzyspells."
For more information, click here to read an interesting feature on Animal Collective from The New York Times.
Click here for a brief, insightful review of A.C. Newman's "Gut Guilty," by Entertainment Weekly.
Click here to read "Measure for Measure," a song-writing blog on the New York Times' Web site where Andrew Bird often contributes.